"If you take it seriously you just get depressed all the time."
You know what? We gays have it real good nowadays. Nearly forty years have passed since Stonewall riots. We still don't have equal taxation for representation, but we aren't dying off like flies either. We may not be able to makeout agressively in a Montana gay bar, but we're plastered all over primetime television. We are a minority, but we can be a vocal minority. We aren't confined to ghettos. We have moved away from "gay neighborhoods" and "gay bars" and towards becoming fully integrated members of society. Even in the five years that have passed since the sexless, minstrel show, Will & Grace, I see the media (ABC in particular) bending over backwards to paint the homosexuals as being "just like you." Gay men are not, in fact, mincing faggots who want to molest children and redesign your living room. We are not crossdressers who secretly long to be women. We can be downright boring! Slowly but surely, popular culture is catching up with the conceit that gay men are men, prone to bouts of testosterone-fueled aggression and with conflicting emotions about nesting versus playing the field.
My favorite current in this sea change is the emergence of the straight best friend. Not since the days of Jews and African Americans bonding together has a camaraderie so warmed my icy heart. Unlike gay on gay best friend dynamics, which can turn messy on a dime, there's no drama to be had here. There's no competition. It's just bros being bros, free of subtext. Whether watching Jurassic Park with a thirtypack of miller high life or approaching strangers at a bar, there's no better wingman. This brotherhood runs deep. Take, for example, Fred Dekker's genre-bending classic, Night of the Creeps (1986).
If you look past the ax-wielding zombies, exploding heads, creepy crawlies, and collegiate tomfoolery, Night of the Creeps is about the bromance between a crippled gay kid, J.C., and the second Rusty from the National Lampoon Vacation movies (wearing lots of makeup for some reason).
J.C. is the perfect friend. He's clever, funny, and a snappy dresser to boot! We never doubt that he has Rusty's best interest at heart, even to his own detriment. He is the kind of gay who's perfectly content getting forcefully penetrated by space-leeches in a public bathroom if it means that his best bro gets to have a night with the girl of his dreams. That's love.
What makes Night of the Creeps so absolutely transcendent is the handling of this relationship between Rusty and J.C.. Never played for laughs, never playing for "gay panic", this movie is unafraid to explore platonic love between besties with complete sincerity. The performance of Steve Marshall as J.C. transcends genre and should be commended for giving this quirky b-movie a heart and soul.
Of course, it was the eighties and, ultimately, the gay has to die so that the straights can live happily ever after. Hopefully, forty years from now, we can have our own happy gay endings. One day we will be the ones carrying the flamethrowers and getting the guy in the end. Until then, there's Night of the Creeps.
Please note: Allan Kayser doused himself in gallons of peroxide to play the film's antagonist. If you aren't familiar with Allan's seminal work as "Bubba" in Mama's Family, get way into it!